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News from Maria Province (Japan)

Maria Province

(From left, Sister Kimiko Matsushita, Sister Kyoko Terashima, Sister Yuriko Anzai)

60th Anniversary Mass for the Profession of Vows

On May 2, a Mass of Thanksgiving commemorating the 60th anniversary of the profession of vows by Sister Kimiko Matsushita, Sister Kyoko Terashima, and Sister Yuriko Anzai was held at Hanazono-cho Convent with the new bishop of the Diocese of Sendai, Edgar Gactan, and Father Charles Emme Bolduc officiating. The celebration was held in a friendly atmosphere, thanks in part to the Bishop's cheerful and friendly personality. Congratulations to the new bishop and his family.


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Convent Construction

In 1933, it was decided to purchase land for the construction of a convent. After obtaining a map of the city from Bishop Dumas, the abbot considered various possibilities for the future development of the town, and chose a plot of land near Mount Nobu on the city border. Inada, where there were 20 owners, all of whom were wealthy. The bishop entrusted the elder of the congregation, Mr. Ryo Leo Hishikura, to make the transaction to purchase the land, and the process began on January 23. It continued until May 1, 1934, when the 6,000 tsubo of land was registered at City Hall. ~The closing of the transaction was placed in the hands of the diocesan administrative body, and the Rev. Kyubei Hayasaka of Ireneo took on this role. The land was purchased in his name, and he stayed in Fukushima until the land was registered.

After most of the land had been purchased, the Abbot searched for an architect, and with the help of Bishop Albert Breton of Fukuoka, Mr. Zvaga was commissioned to do the job. The Director immediately set to work on the design. The monastery in Fukushima, which is still highly praised by its citizens, is a magnificent wooden structure that has withstood nearly 50 years of wind and snow, suffered frequent earthquakes, and especially during the war, despite being used as a prisoner of war camp, it still retains its robust and beautiful appearance. The Director oversaw the construction of this building with artistic flair, a wealth of experience, and the perseverance to fix any defects until the very end. Mr. Zuwega also displayed his talents as a designer to the fullest extent.

 

(Photo taken in June 2010)

On August 25, 1934, the building contract was signed, and construction began on September 12, the feast day of Mary's name only. Architect Seki strongly guided the workers, while Zvága checked the state of construction every two weeks, entrusting Alexander Bakrúsky with overall supervision. The construction site of the new convent was located in Kasumi cho, far from the new town, but the sisters went there every day to see the work being done. At that time, there were no roads or ditches in Kasumi cho, so they had to walk in boots.

By the time they arrived back at the monastery, their long   hems were heavy with mud. However, the patrols were an encouragement to the people on the ground.

On January 18, 1935, a strike broke out at the monastery construction site over working conditions. The newspapers reported this as a "scandal in the holy chapel. Since Mr. Seki had a close relationship with the Minister of Health and Welfare, when he learned of the strike, he immediately submitted a document signed by the Minister to the Labor Standards Bureau in Fukushima to settle the dispute.

 One after another, thoughtful gifts arrived for the new monastery. The statue of Our Lady of the Rosary at the entrance was a gift from a monastery in Chicago, and the statues of Our Lady of the Novitiate and Our Lady of the Cathedral came from a Chicago statue-making company.

The move to the new monastery began on the morning of May 17. It took until late at night, with five round trips by truck. The next day, the decision to establish a mission in Japan was made in Montreal.

(Photo taken in May 2010)

The next day was the anniversary of the establishment of the Japanese mission in Montreal, which was celebrated with the first mass at the new monastery.

On May 23, 1935, at 10 a.m., the monastery was inaugurated. Bishop André Dumas celebrated the consecration of the monastery and then celebrated Solemn Mass. Nineteen Dominican priests, several Japanese priests from the diocese, many religious from inside and outside the diocese, and believers filled the rectory. Fr. Joseph Defrenne, the first head priest of Fukushima Church, came from Tokyo and said joyfully, "There is no road in the whole of Fukushima where I did not scatter the Ave Maria. Indeed, this was the blessed day when we saw the fruit of the Ave Maria.

 (Photo taken in October 2008)

Statue moved to the CND Heritage Room

(Photo taken in November 2017)

 

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